October 20, 2007

This is our inaugural MMA rankings. Doesn't that set your pants on fire. Read the methodology, rankings, and the notes and then discuss. Ready? Okay.


  1. If the fighter is considered active in two divisions, he will be ranked in two divisions.
  2. MMath is complicated in triangulated places. For example, Hendo beat Wanderlei, Wanderlei beat Rampage twice, Rampage beat Hendo. Obviously applying head-to-head results here is difficult.
  3. Head-to-Head results are taken into account, but as previously mentioned, it cannot be evenly applied do to instances of triangulation.
  4. The recentness of a Head-to-Head win/loss was not always considered. Therefore, Matt Hughes’s win over Georges St. Pierre has as much weight as GSP’s more recent victory over Matt.
  5. In head-to-head win/loss consideration, the manner of victory is considered. That is, a stoppage should garner more points than a decision. Now, the closeness of decision is at the discretion of the ranker. A structured formula is important, but judgment and opinion must be incorporated.
  6. Inactivity and level of most recent competition are considered.
  7. There is undeniably some bias in the rankings. It is a subconscious thing that I have tried to minimize through fairness.

(More notes after the rankings…)

Heavyweight (205lbs +)

  1. Randy Couture – The de facto #1 until Fedor steps back into the limelight. This guy was pretty amazing in his victory over Gage Gonzaga, and really has to be considered #1 until Fedor returns.
  2. Fedor Emelianenko – A combination of the recent inactivity and weakness of competition. Fedor is an incredible machine with all the tools, but until his time in limbo ends, I have to overlook him.
  3. Minotauro Nogueira – The #2 guy for a lot of years, Minotauro has a very nice resume. The only times he has been soundly defeated were his encounters with Fedor. That is good enough for third.
  4. Gage Gonzaga – Dominating Cro Cop, and breaking Randy’s arm with a high kick are noteworthy. The resume is lacking, but recent results are impressive. Unfortunate that his nose was broken in the Couture fight.
  5. Josh Barnett – This guy is good. Wins over Big Nog, Randy, and Aleksander help. Three losses to Cro Cop and inactivity hurt.
  6. Andrei Arlovski – Nice right hand, kicks, and good Sambo base. Two losses to Big Tim hurt, but he was injured in the third fight. Very athletic for 240lber.
  7. Mirko Cro Cop – He is hanging by his resume right now.
  8. Tim Slyvia – I don’t think this guy is much, but there is a lot of inactivity in the heavyweights which pushes him up. Vera takes his place after UFC 77.
  9. Sergei Kharitonov – I love this guy and would love to see him fight Arlovski. That isn’t likely to happen, though.
  10. Aleksander Emelianenko – The resume isn’t strong, but I think he can beat a lot of guys.

Light-Heavyweights (205)

  1. Rampage Jackson – The resume is strong, and recent victories over UFC Champ Chuck Liddell and PRIDE Champ Dan Henderson make Rampage the unified champ and #1. Shogun losing helps too.
  2. Wanderlei Silva – Wandy is coming off of two KO losses but the resume is very strong. Two KO wins over current #1 Rampage help a ton too. The loss to Mirko came at heavyweight.
  3. Dan Henderson – Not really a 205er, but knocking out Wanderlei and sending Rampage to the judge’s scorecard is impressive.
  4. Shogun Rua – All right, all right calm down. The resume is good, he was the PRIDE 205 Grand Prix winner, and one loss should not send him out of the top of the rankings.
  5. Keith Jardine – This is based solely on the wins over Forrest and Chuck. I don’t expect him to be here long.
  6. Forrest Griffin – The loss to Jardine puts him at 6th. A rapidly improving fighter with stay power. Needs to work on the resume.
  7. Chuck Liddell – The credentials hold him here. Two straight losses at 205, plus old age hurt him.
  8. Sokoudjou – Burst onto the scene with major wins over Minotoro and Arona.
  9. Ricardo Arona – This guy has some pretty damn good credentials but the recent performances aren’t there.
  10. Lil Nog – Major recent inactivity, but lil Nog has more to give.

Middleweights (185lbs)

  1. Anderson Silva – His recent work, in addition to a solid body of work, put Silva #1.
  2. Paulo Filho – Beast, BJJ monster, freak. All suitable names for Filho. One of the best PRIDE guys suited for cagefighting.
  3. Dan Henderson – Not a great recent record at PRIDE 183, but the prowess and credentials are there.
  4. Matt Lindland – Took Rampage to a very close decision at 205, fought Fedor at heavyweight (losing impart to Fedor’s grabbing the ropes during an attempted takedown,) plus a nice resume and very good skills.
  5. Rich Franklin – He wasn’t quite the monster people thought, but Rich has all around good skills and some gas left in the tank. Has prime opportunity upcoming against A.Silva.
  6. Denis Kang – Reminds me of GSP. Very athletic, good hands.
  7. Yushin Okami – Had two nothing rounds against Rich Franklin before dominating him in the third frame.
  8. Robbie Lawler – Mr. Letdown has turned in wins over Trigg and Ninja.
  9. Travis Lutter – Looked really good, for a fat man, before the up kick undid him against A.Silva
  10. Nate Marquadt – A good fighter with a really bad showing against A.Silva.

Welterweights (170lbs)

  1. Matt Hughes – The “Greatest Welterweight of All-Time” returns to the top thanks to GSP’s shocking loss to Matt Serra.
  2. Georges St. Pierre – Tremendous all around fighter with great athleticism.
  3. BJ Penn – Recent losses to GSP and Hughes, plus the move to 155 have BJ at 3.
  4. Karo Parisyan – This guy is game against anybody.
  5. Matt Serra – One big win doesn’t make you #1.
  6. Jon Fitch – This guy is a scary dude. I’d like to see improved GnP with more hammerfists.
  7. Josh Koscheck – A win over Diego and a decision loss to GSP earn Koscheck some credit.
  8. Diego Sanchez – Back to back losses put him at the end of the line.
  9. Nick Diaz – Not sure what he is fighting at, but his win/NC against Gomi was legendary. Also, a lot of tough losses and he is banned from the UFC.
  10. Thiago Alves – I dunno, he seems 10ish to me.

Lightweights (155lbs)

  1. BJ Penn – When he is motivated, he is the best fighter on earth.
  2. Sean Sherk – Roids or not, he is a beast.
  3. Takanori Gomi – A legend with a bad recent history.
  4. Gilbert Melendez – Athletic, good hands, undefeated, working on resume.
  5. Calvancanti – A stud that knocked off Shaolin.
  6. Kawajiri – The Shooto and PRIDE vet has a good resume.
  7. Shaolin Ribeiro – I don’t watch enough HERO’S but he deserves better than this spot. A BJJ freak, Shaolin is seriously injured.
  8. Ishidi – I love this guy. Great motor.
  9. Roger Huerta – I don’t know if the UFC hype is working on me or not. I see a Huerta/T. Griffin fight coming up, and if Huerta can avoid the LnP, I like his striking.
  10. Hermes Franca – Sherk mauled him, but he gave some licks too. A tremendous recent history is hard to ignore.

More Notes:

  • There was a prognostic element to the rankings. For example, I expect Wanderlei to rebound, but if he does lose in his UFC redebut then he gets dropped hard.
  • These rankings were done in about an hour, so I’m sure I’ve overlooked someone obviously deserving ranking.
  • Just putting this out there as a template to be molded by the user’s consideration. Understandably, we probably won’t agree on the rankings but with some work we can come to a consensus.

  UFC 76